The Master of My Panic

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“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” 

Psalm 46:1-2, NLT

“Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking…But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me.” 

Psalm 55:5, 16

Apparently, David understood what we now call a “panic attack.” (He sure wasn’t the first, and he sure won’t be the last.) David understands the shaking and fear that wanted to eat him up. David’s entire life seems to go from crisis-to-crisis-to-crisis. This pattern surely contributes to a deep anxiety.

What is a panic attack like? My own experience with a panic attack is similar to what he must’ve felt. I start shaking and feel a pressing anxiety. The trembling gets very intense, I feel like death is imminent and my heart races. A feeling of doom often accompanies this. I feel like I’m drowning (not in water, but in pure fear.)

When I first started having them they were absolutely overwhelming; I had no idea what they were. They are pretty scary. For me they seem to happen once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less.

They improve my prayer life, and perhaps, that is their sole purpose. IDK.

Mayo Clinic put out a list of symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Feeling of unreality or detachment

Mine typically last for 20-30 minutes. When I finally asked my doctor, she knew exactly what they were. There is no drug; the attack can only be treated by an awareness of what is happening. There is no cure for them and really no way to eliminate them completely. I was stuck with them. She told me to use small paper bag to ease the symptoms.

As a believer the panic attack had to be understood as coming under the lordship of Jesus Christ. When an attack occurs it is time for me to “hunker down” and prepare for the coming storm. Since I know he is in charge, I become less anxious. (And that is a good thing.)

Educating myself has helped a lot. Just to know many others experience them is a real encouragement. The panic attack is quite common and much is known about it, the attack can be understood and even managed by understanding its true nature. Reading the Psalms really helps. I can so relate to King David.

I know that all that touches me is the Lord’s concern; of that I have no doubt.


Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/basics/definition/CON-20020825

 

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Fear or Faith, [Twelve Spies]

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,”

Psalm 42:1-2a

Israel camping on the edge of Canaan is evidence of “fear or faith.” Twelve men were commissioned to spy out the land. They were to specifically to determine if conquest was possible.

Upon their return ten men gave a negative report. “We cannot take this land.” But two came back with positive news. “We can! We can take this land.” Two against twelve! Faith against fear.

Many live with a sense doom and fear. It is a “stronghold” that dominates their lives. It doesn’t have to be a specific issue, but there stiill be a sense of dread about the future. This is a destructive problem that fear brings to our hearts.

We can become disheartened and discouraged by our daily battle. Instead of faith we choose fear. The Lord’s promises are easily forgotten. We are devoid of a hopeful faith and are content to live out of this anxiety.

Believers are not immune to this discouragement. Sometimes the obstacles seem overwhelming. We deduce that this is normal and try to manage our defeated lives. But somehow a little voice tells us that there is something more, something better.

The Holy Spirit is supposed to be our steady companion, not fear. We are to emulate the two spies who came back to announce a complete victory. They tried to inject hope into the people’s lives with a good report.

A word about “panic attacks.” They are real and formidable. But God can guide you through them, you don’t need to suffer alone. Dealing with the fear and anxiety in your life can really help. For me the severity has reduced the attacks. The active presence of God is no small thing.

I shall not fear with the Lord Jesus at my side.

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When Anxiety Becomes An Issue

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 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Matthew 6:27, NLT

“And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?”

Matthew 6:27, AMP

Anxiety can be described as “misplaced concern.”  Many are over-wrought and disturbed by the way life is developing for them.  They can’t make it work, and find themselves in a place they regard as perilous.  They are stressed and then try to imagine themselves to a place of success.  But a year from now, they will not have improved and find themselves in pretty much in the same place.

The evil of anxiety is that we become overly concerned with the future— today. 

Under a great deal of worry, we develop a deep tendency for fear.  Soon doubt filters in and we work ourselves up into a significant problem.  Seeking success we find ourselves in the chains of anxiety and worry.

Jesus declared that we should never ever be anxious.  He suggests that anxiety will never pay-off.  Our fear over our future can bring us nothing but spiritual poverty, and emotional crisis  We find a bag and we try to collect some security and certainty, but little do we know that our bag has holes.  It holds nothing, and leaks everything.

No matter what we think, we change a single thing.  Concentrating on wealth and success will in the long run, is futile and empty.  We can’t make an iota of a difference.

6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

Security for us is not what we can scrape up, but it is found in coming under the control of Jesus Christ.  We have an awareness that life is cruel, capricious and demanding.  We sift through our life, our eyes eager to find something, anything that will help us.  And, we find nothing. But faith in God will push the anxious thoughts out.

“An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally. Hence the Apostle teaches us to “have no anxiety about anything” (Phil. 4:6). Deliver all anxious thoughts to God as soon as they arise. Let the peace of God maintain your heart and mind (v. 7).”

Watchman Nee

Anxiety seems to be a disturbing companion to those of us with a mental illness.  (We definitely don’t like his company.)  Anxiety shapes us and victimizes us, and we often find ourselves in a confusing place. But understanding the presence of anxiety is just a half-step towards freedom. We must shake ourselves of the fear and doubt that accompanies this sin.

We must trust our Father, and completely lean on his grace. We must learn to pray again.

Important to Know:

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a seperate category of mental illness, and although similar to the anxiety experienced by many, requires the help of medical professionals.  We should not confuse the two. GAD is an illness and not just basic anxiety. Panic attacks can often accompany GAD. Get help if you think this might be an issue for you. 

Visit http://www.medicinenet.com/panic_disorder/article.htm for more information.

 

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